News Flash, the Broncos are HOT!
This is my first installment of rubbing the other columnists noses in my face about being able to talk about Thursday night football first. Of course I didn’t get a chance to watch the game last night (but it wasn’t due to lack of effort, moreso lack of a decent stream). So most of this is coming from Gamecenter observation. Sure it’s the age of the quarterback, the 5000 yard seasons, and the Broncos looking like a team from the 1930s isn’t very sexy. But Tim Tebow is officially 4-1 as a starter, and any thoughts about Denver trying to hide him slowly disappeared last night. Last week, in Kansas City, the Bronco-tariats (they’re like Secretariat, all they do is run) ran the ball 55 times and only threw it 8 times. Tebow only completed 2 passes (one was for a TD) and yet they still won. Last night they relied on Tebow’s arm a bit more, throwing it 20 times (still very low, considering Stafford threw it 63 times). But in the end, they called a great bootleg running play and Tebow ran it in from 20 yards out. If you watch that play, there was NOBODY on that side of the field, the Jets had to have known that the Bronco-tariats have a heavy-run based scheme, how do you not stop that? You are also supposed to have one of the premier defenses in the league. Also if you look, the receivers are literally 25 yards down the field blocking 2 Jets CB’s in the endzone, very well designed play. This was all coming off a 95 yard drive by Tebow to win the game with less than a minute left…clutch. The Broncos are now 5-5, a half game out of the lead. They have defeated the Raiders, Jets, Chiefs, and Bengals; they also haven’t lost to a team under .500. They do have a tough stretch to finish out the season (SD, NE, CHI, and BUF), but a 9-7 season would be a huge improvement from last year, and may even take them into the playoffs in that division.
We got Options:
With all of the football knowledge I have acquired, there is one thing I will never understand. Why do 95% of college teams successfully run the option, and yet it NEVER works in the NFL? Why don’t college defenses study NFL film to find defenses against it? Why don’t NFL teams study teams who literally scheme their offense around the Option, and add a couple plays? You literally watch an option run in college, and the QB pitches it perfectly and the RB runs 80 yds for a score. Exact same play in the NFL? There are 2 defenders on the wing to cover both players, and you’re lucky if you get 3 yards. Sure the NFL is faster, but there are fast defenders in college too. Just doesn’t make sense to me…Finally to my point! In the 10 minutes last night that the stream was actually working, I watched the Bronco-tariats run the most beautifully designed triple-option play for about 15 yards, that I have ever seen in the NFL. Tebow lined up in a reverse wishbone formation (totally awesome!), one RB ran to the power side, Tebow kept the ball and started running to the weak side with another RB in tow. Tebow kept the ball because of the HUGE lane that opened up after the initial fake, and the sole LB chose to guard the RB while Tebow scampered for a first down. They tried the option with Vince Young, but he wasn’t as football savvy to make it work. Tried a variation of it with Vick, but he always kept the ball. The Panthers have been running versions of it with Cam Newton (quota), and have had decent luck with it. It’s exciting to see new plays in the NFL (Wildcat is a great example), and I’ll admit that if teams can get the option working, it would make for some exciting runs.
I said “NEVERMORE!”
The Ravens are seriously the most confusing team in football. Their 3 losses have come from teams that are a combined 11-16, yet have wins over Pittsburgh twice, the Jets, and Houston. What the heck is going on there? Are they game planning for 2 games ahead and teams are taking them by surprise? I don’t know, but at least in the playoffs they will play difficult teams, because at this rate the Week 14 matchup against the Colts is looking pretty scary!
The REAL Game of the Century:
Two weeks ago, the Alabama vs. LSU game was touted as the “Game of the Century.” Psshh, I can think of 5 other college football games off the top of my head that matched up better, and I’m not even a college fan! The REAL Game of the Century was the National Championship game in 2005 between USC and Texas. After disappointing careers since then, both Matt Leinart and Vince Young could very well be starting this week (Reggie Bush too, but not Lendale White; he ate himself out of the league). Tidbit only I may be interested in, but cool nonetheless.
Isn’t the Cheese Binding:
I watched the Packers demolish the Vikings on Monday night almost in utter awe of what they were doing. It literally got to the point where a receiver would drop a pass, and you’d think to yourself “wow, they made a mistake.” Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a passer rating under 114 this season, and has tied Peyton Manning for the most consecutive passer ratings over 100 to start a season.
Matt Matt Matt:
Year of the Quarterback has somehow turned into Week of the QB injuries, and it’s not a good week to be a QB named Matt (which is why I chose not to go into the NFL). In Week 10 alone, we lost Matt Cassel and Matt Schaub for the season, and Matthew Stafford broke his hand. On top of this, Michael Vick broke two ribs, and Ben Roethlisberger broke his thumb. I’m scared for Matt Leinart…
When will it catch up to them?
Every year, you can pick one team that was destined to do well, but 2 or 3 unfortunate injuries changes the complexion on their entire season. This year, that team is the Texans. Somehow, they have managed to put on a 4 game winning streak without Andre Johnson (arguably the best receiver in the league) and Mario Williams, their star pass rusher. But now they have also lost Matt Schaub, a QB who has quietly climbed amongst the elite when it comes to passer rating and managing the game. With Matt Leinart waiting in the wings, you just gotta wonder when all of these star’s injuries will catch up to the team. Luckily Leinart starts out against a winnable Jaguars team, and the Texans have an very doable stretch to finish the season (JAX, CAR, IND, TEN). I am predicting a 10-6 record, winning the AFC South, and an embarrassing early exit from the playoffs. Sorry Houston Fans.
I feel like in addition to a Cam Newton quota (which is slowly turning into a Tim Tebow quota), at this point I also need an Andrew Luck quota, as I feel like the past 5 weeks have had features on him. This week had some interesting developments regarding the Colts. The Colts have a 2.5 game lead on the Luck sweepstakes with Rams and Dolphins victories this week, and it is hardly looking like they can lose that race at this point. Bill Polian, the Colt’s owner, has said that he has spoken with Peyton Manning about drafting a QB with a high pick this year (don’t do it Indy), and Peyton is supposedly ok with that (yeah right). I came across some interesting Luck, Colts connections that makes a pairing in the near future even more likely. Brian Polian, Bill’s son, is actually the Assistant Special Teams Coordinator at Stanford, meaning the Colts basically have had a scout watching Luck for the past 3 years. Peyton’s father Archie, and Luck’s father Oliver, were actually teammates together with the Oilers in 1982. Andrew Luck also attended the Manning Passing Academy to hone his game. The Colt’s logo, a horseshoe, is a symbol of Luck…
Stat of the Week #1:
At 4:30pm EST, the Dolphins were on a 2 game winning streak while the Patriots were on a 2 game losing streak
Stat of the Week #2:
The Packers have outscored opponents by 134 points this season (through only 9 games). There are 4 teams (nearly 6) in the NFL who have scored less than 134 points total!
Stat of the Week #3:
5 of the Nighmares’ 6 losses have been blowing 4th quarter leads.
Stat of the Week #4:
The Nevermores have somehow beaten the #1 seed in the AFC, and the #2 seed twice. Yet lost to the #9 and #13 seeds in the AFC, and the #10 seed in the NFC (while almost dropping to the #11 NFC team as well).
Stat of the Week #5:
Against Kansas City, Tim Tebow had a 102.6 passer rating going 2-8
Stat of the Week #6:
Tim Tebow is averaging 6.9 yards per rush attempt, and only 5.6 yards per pass attempt.
Stat of the Week #7:
The Kansas City Chargers started off 0-3, then 4-0, and now 0-3 (after they get killed by the Patriots on Monday).
Stat of the Week #8:
FMQB talks more about a QB with 8 starts, a rookie, and a QB still in college than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady combined.
Stat that Surprised Me:
With Flacco’s struggles this year, the Ravens are somehow 11th in the league in passing this year.
Stat that Screams RB by Committee:
The Saints 3 RB’s are 36th, 37th, and 37th in the league in rushing, with 348, 340, and 340 yds respectively. Apparently their momma’s taught them all to share.
If the Playoffs were to Start Today:
For the 3rd week in a row, both the NFC and AFC North Divisions would have 3 teams in the playoffs. As of now, there are 7 cold weather teams that could host playoff games, could make for a snowy playoff schedule. But hey, that’s what football is all about!
What happened to my Bills and Lions?
The Bills and Lions roared out of the gates at a combined 9-1, since then they have been a measly 2-6. Let’s hope the 49ers don’t discover they’re good and start to get cocky too.
The Cutler Did It:
The Bears are suddenly looking legit with impressive wins over the Eagles and Lions in consecutive weeks. The offensive line is doing their job protecting Cutler, who was on pace to be sacked 80+ times by Week 4, but since has only been dropped 5 times. Chicago has also won 4 in a row and is solidifying themselves as a team nobody wants to play right now. Cutler is a great quarterback (not many agree with me) but he also needs a lot of help around him. With his WRs and O-Line stepping up, don’t be surprised to see the Bears make a deep run in the playoffs, I’m talking making it to the Championship game as a wildcard team.
Man I Love College:
With all the strict NCAA rules, I get sick of hearing about the crazy scandals in college sports (perhaps another reason college football doesn’t interest me terribly). It’s either Reggie Bush giving up his Heisman, Cam Newton being interrogated, Ohio State losing their QB and head coach, Miami seems to always be doing something shady, and now Penn State. Earlier this year, Miami played Ohio State, and it was hilariously dubbed the Ineligibowl (props ESPN)! Now this weekend, Penn State plays Ohio State. Trying to come up with a good name for it, my best one is the Rock Star Bowl, because it’s all tattoos, cars, and sex. The rumor that R. Kelly would be singing the national anthem is also false.
Games of the Week:
Bengals at Ravens
Eagles at Giants
And Thanksgiving Games of:
Packers at Lions
49ers at Ravens